In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that it would not issue Private Letter Rulings on “spin-off” transactions intended to qualify as tax-free under IRS § 355. As a result of the IRS no-ruling position, taxpayers have not been able to obtain certainty relative to the tax consequences of these types of transactions. Rather, the best they can do is obtain some comfort through an opinion of their tax advisors. The cost of tax opinions, however, can be significant.
While the IRS is back in business following the recent government shutdown, it may not receive your requests for private letter rulings with open arms. Before requesting a private letter ruling, tax practitioners need to review the Service’s recent no-ruling revenue procedures, namely Revenue Procedure 2013-32 and Revenue Procedure 2013-3.
While the new no-ruling revenue procedures are broad in scope, it is possible the Service may still issue rulings in areas that otherwise appear to be no-ruling topics. So, you should consider a pre-submission meeting or conversation with the IRS to determine whether a ruling may be available and/or to discuss how you should tailor a ruling request in light of these new revenue procedures.
Larry J. Brant
Larry J. Brant is a Shareholder in Foster Garvey, a law firm based out of the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; New York, New York, Spokane, Washington; and Beijing, China. Mr. Brant practices in the Portland office. His practice focuses on tax, tax controversy and transactions. Mr. Brant is a past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section. He was the long-term Chair of the Oregon Tax Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum. Mr. Brant has served as an adjunct professor, teaching corporate taxation, at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. He is an Expert Contributor to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst. Mr. Brant is a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. He publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Taxation of S Corporations, Reasonable Compensation, Circular 230, Worker Classification, IRC § 1031 Exchanges, Choice of Entity, Entity Tax Classification, and State and Local Taxation. Mr. Brant is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national tax and business conferences for CPAs and attorneys. He was the 2015 Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Tax Section Award of Merit.